Friday, June 29, 2007

Captain Wentworth's Diary

I just love having a new book out! Captain Wentworth's Diary is out tomorrow, and I can't wait to find out what readers think of it.

One of the best things about writing it was having a chance to write a section set in 1806 when Anne and Wentworth met for the first time.
We know a little about their first affair from Persuasion, but not very much, and I wanted to know more. In order to write it, I had to think myself into the character of Wentworth. I knew that he was a young man and that his life was going brilliantly well. He had just been promoted to Commander, and he knew he would captain his own ship as soon as a vessel became available.

He was bold, confident and daring, adored by Anne and mistrusted by Lady Russell. My challenge was to create a character who could realistically arouse the admiration of a nineteen-year-old girl but who would also arouse the suspicion of a middle-aged woman.

Anne was also very interesting and hugely enjoyable to write. Although Jane Austen says little about the younger Anne she tells us that, by 1814, Anne has suffered a loss of spirits, so it stands to reason that, in 1806, she was more spirited than she is in Persuasion. I very much enjoyed showing a younger Anne, who had not yet been ground down by her family's disdain, and by the knowledge that she had lost the love of her life.

I also introduced some of the minor characters into the early part of the book, for example Harville and Benwick. I wanted to explore the friendship between the three men and so I sent Wentworth to Harville's wedding, and then showed him telling Benwick that his fiancee was dead.

This latter circumstance sets the scene for some of the most important events of the book, as well as showing why Wentworth was so eager to be entertained by the Musgrove girls. After the distressing days spent with Benwick, helping him through his grief, Wentworth was ready for some light-hearted flirting with two pretty girls.

And then he saw Anne, and the past came flooding back . . .

I hope you like Captain Wentworth's Diary! In the UK, you can buy it from bookshops, or from Amazon by clicking here
You can also buy it direct from the publisher's website, which comes with a 30% discount and free UK postage, by clicking here

It isn't available yet in the US, I'm afraid, except by ordering from Amazon UK or direct from the publishers. A paperback version will be out next year, distributed in the US.

Amanda Grange

Our recent books

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Carstairs Conspiracy

It's always an anxious time, submitting a new book to a publisher and waiting to hear if it's acceptable, and so I'm both relieved and delighted to announce that my fourth successive Regency romance has been accepted for publication by Robert Hale.

Abigail Carstairs, at eighteen, is the sole heir to the late Duke of Penrith's vast estate. She has been closely protected since the death of her parents and seldom seen in public so, upon the occasion of her first society ball, it is to be expected that she will be the centre of attention. Abbey had been impatiently anticipating the occasion and would have greated enjoyed the experience, had she not been aware that someone was attempting to kill her.

Meeting the infamous and intriguing Sebastian Denver at the ball, her cousin reminds Abbey that his lordship has a reputation not only as a rake but as a detective of some distinction, too. Abbey realises that Sebastian could be just the person she requires to help her out of her difficulties but how can she, an unmarried girl who has yet to be presented, possibly approach such a person, especially when she
had rather rudely declined his invitation to dance at the ball where they met?

Abbey soon discovers that desperation has a tendency to overcome convention and decides upon the direct approach. Shrouded in a concealing cloak, with only her maid for company, she calls at Sebastian's house ...

Look out for The Carstairs Conspiracy which will be published by Robert Hale later this year.

Wendy Soliman

The Journal of Regency Lady 14

May 20th

Today is my wedding. I woke this morning and my first thought was one of terror. By this evening I shall be Harry’s wife. I was too much of a coward to tell him I had changed my mind. Mama would have been so angry, and disappointed. I wish that I had thought a little more, but of course I did not know that Robert meant to ask me to be his wife. I do not know it for sure now. He has not come, but he may have seen the announcement in the papers. I am sure that when he knows he will be hurt and that hurts me. I feel so wicked. I do not like to hurt people, and I am determined to be a good wife to Harry. I like him very well. As for love I hardly know what that means, except that sometimes when Robert looked at me in a certain way I suspected that he loved me – but I must stop now for Mama will be here soon and the day will begin.

May 23rd

I have been married three days. My dear Harry is very good to me. He teases me and makes me laugh, and he was very gentle when he made me his wife. I think I was foolish to fear being married to him and we shall do very well together. We are to leave for the south coast in the morning. Harry will join his regiment and I shall meet the other wives who are travelling to Spain with their husbands. In all the turmoil of the past weeks I had almost forgotten that there was a war on. However, that is behind me. I am married now and shall think no more of…a certain person. I believe that I was foolish to imagine he cared for me. Had he truly wanted to marry me he would have said something before he left for the North. So I shall put all that nonsense from my mind. Perhaps I should not write in my journal anymore now that I am married, and yet I have become attached to it and I may have exciting things to relate once we are in Spain. I feel nervous and excited, just as I did over my wedding, and now I can see that it was all nonsense. Of course I love Harry. He is my husband and will be the father of my children.

June 10th
Oh, I hardly dare to put this down, but I have seen Robert. He looked at me with such reproach in his eyes that it broke my heart. We did not speak, but I learned that he will be travelling on the ship with us when we leave next week with Harry’s regiment. I hope that I shall not see him often for it is hard to bear when he looks at me so! I am Harry’s wife and nothing can change that – and I care for him, I really do – but there is something in Robert’s eyes that makes me feel I shall swoon with shame!

Anne Herries

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Norwich Assembly Rooms

I was invited to speak at Norwich Writer's Circle in May and also asked to judge a romantic short story competition and give the results last week. This is a friendly and enthusiastic group with more than thirty members.(I know this because twenty-eight came to my talk). The standard of their romantic stories was high and the winning story was exceptional.
They meet at least once a month in the lovely Assembly building which made my visits even more enjoyable. This building was gutted by fire a few years ago but has been perfectly restored.

The Grand Hall holds the magnificent crystal chandelier in the picture and it was easy to imagine the place full of gentlemen in elegant black evening rig and their ladies in floating high waisted gowns.
The Noverre Ballroom was originally built by Frank Noverre, a descendant of the Swiss born Noverres, famously dance masters to the Court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
The Music Room is decorated in rich apricot and cream with six glittering chandeliers, elegant balconies , rich decorative furnishings and ornate plasterwork featuring flowers and fruits.
There is also a place to eat and a bar, so why don't you call in and look round next time you are in Norwich?
My second Regency novella 'A COUNTRY MOUSE' will be up on any day now.
Fenella Miller

Saturday, June 23, 2007


The winner of the competition to win a copy of The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan, editrix of Austenblog is Lois.


If you send your details by clicking here Lois, a copy of the book will be on its way to you.

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Competition closed

The competition to win a copy of The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan, editrix of Austenblog is now closed.

The names of everyone who left a comment on the competition post will go into a hat and a winner will be drawn, so come back tomorrow to find out who it is!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pure Passion

Has anyone looked at the Pure Passion website recently? There are some wonderful books on there - not all historicals, but there is room to add your own suggestions for good reading. Do take a look: there will be a vote later in the year, so it's a good chance for those of us who love historicals (and Regencies in particular) to give them a little publicity. Also, I would be interested to hear what you think of the site. You can find it on or just go to the Time to Read website ( and click on the Pure Passion logo


Melinda Hammond

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Marianne And The Marquis

I popped in to say hello after weeks of not being able to post. I am sorry it has been so long. I will write some more of The Regency Lady's Journal soon and put up, but I have been snowed under with all kinds of work. for today I just want to post this apology and a picture of my new Regency which is due out in paperback in August. It is the first in a new trilogy. This one is about the Reverend Horne's daughters. After their father dies they have to leave the Vicarage and it looks as if the future is bleak for the family. But that is before Marianne meets Drew - a man involved in a secret mission. It is a long time before she realises that he is a marquis! As usual it is a lot of fun and lovely romance.
Love to you all, Anne Herries

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Richard and Rose are back!

My first published book has just been reissued! Lightly re-edited, YORKSHIRE is the first book featuring Richard and Rose, and is available from Mundania in print or ebook form! I am thrilled to see them back again, finally Rose will be able to continue her story!

When Rose Golightly accompanies her family on a visit to their cousins in Yorkshire, she finds a run down house, not the society gathering she and her sister are hoping for. Lord Hareton has deliberately run down the once great Hareton Abbey until it’s a near ruin. The only other guests at Hareton are the twin Kerre brothers, intimidating and haughty leaders of society, together with the fiancĂ©e of the older brother.

Richard Kerre, Lord Strang is badly injured in the same accident that kills her cousins and Rose is forced into the position of nurse--and detective. The attraction between Richard and Rose is instant and undeniable, but Richard is to marry the frigid Julia Cartwright in a few weeks, and has deliberately closed his heart to love. In order to offer Rose his heart he must extricate himself from an engagement he has long come to regret.

When they discover that what at first appeared accidental was in fact a deliberate act of sabotage, Richard and Rose set out to solve the mystery. Can Rose trust her instincts, ignoring Richard's reputation as a seducer and give him everything she has to offer? Can they clear Rose's family name by discovering her cousins’ murderer?

Lord Strang walked into the coach house.
His held his injured arm in a sling fastened around his neck, and he was dressed simply in a country frock coat, slung around his shoulders against the cold. No make up or expensive satin today. He looked comfortable, at ease, far more human than he had when he first stepped out of his coach the previous Monday and far more like his brother, but I would never have confused them.
He stopped when he saw me and looked me over, slowly. I felt dowdy and provincial, under his even gaze, and dropped my eyes. He came quickly towards me, and then stopped again suddenly, a few paces short of me. Regaining my courage I lifted my head and we regarded each other steadily. “Good morning, ma’am,” he greeted me, bowing.
“Good morning, my lord,” I replied. “Do you feel better today?”
“A good deal better, thank you,” he replied. “Sleep and rest seem to have restored me almost to my old self. But not quite,” he added in a quieter, more reflective tone.
I glanced at the sling, expertly tied, no doubt by his resourceful manservant. “You look much better, sir. I hope your arm does well now.”
An easy, genuine smile transformed his grave features into something else, making him look like any other man—almost. It went right through me. “I hope so too,” he agreed. “Carier certainly seems pleased with its progress.”
I felt uncomfortable, stilted. “Your man seems very capable with injuries,” I commented, trying very hard to keep up a normal conversation. “I didn’t think it was considered usual in a manservant.”
“He joined me on the Grand Tour, direct from the army,” he replied. He didn’t seem aware of my awkwardness. I thanked the Lord for good manners. “He served a general for several years and took an interest in helping the wounded. He dealt with much worse there, or so he would have me believe.”
I found it difficult to take my eyes off Lord Strang, but I knew I must do something to stop myself, or he might notice. I felt awkward and ungainly as I always did in difficult situations. My inner feelings intensified it all, made it even worse. Partly to give myself an excuse to take my eyes away from him and partly on an impulse I turned away for a moment and picked up the cut strap. “Sir, the most dreadful thing!” I began, and turned back to him.
His gaze had gone to the strap in my hand, and he must have seen what I did. He took the step that brought him to my side. “Good God!” he exclaimed. Taking the strap from me he turned it over so he could examine it from both sides.
We stood side by side and stared at that strap for a while in silence, for far too long. Then I found my voice at last; “It has been cut, hasn’t it sir?”
I smelled him now. An unidentifiable scent of manhood mixed with something of citrus, too agreeable for comfort. I wanted to move away, but thought he might realise something was wrong if I did. I would be deeply mortified if that were to happen. It was bad enough to have this crazy infatuation – much worse if he knew it.
“There’s no doubt about it,” he replied gravely. “Look, it’s been cut nearly through. I’m surprised the coach got as far as it did.”
He dropped the strap as though it had become suddenly hot, and went round to the other side of the coach to examine the strap on that side, but I didn’t follow him. I needed time to get my breath back. His presence so close hit me like a blow to the stomach, especially in the way he had taken me by surprise by walking in so unexpectedly. I put my head back and took some deep, clear breaths of the chilly morning air, pulled it down into my lungs in an effort to clear my head. Slowly, I regained my self control.
Lord Strang walked round the coach slowly and carefully, examining it closely at several points, then he came back to where I stood. “This is very serious indeed,” he said, thoughtfully, but he didn’t say, as I thought he might, we would have to tell someone at once. So, I said it. With two of us so certain, surely someone should be informed. “Shouldn’t we tell someone?” I asked, tentatively.
Impulsively, I turned towards him, but he was standing too close. I drew breath and smelled him, the perfume he used and that unfamiliar smell of masculinity. I could almost feel his warmth. Then I let my eyes meet his in a careless second. Everything rushed in on me, on his blue gaze. I was lost.
To my amazement, there seemed to be a similar response in him. His eyes widened in disbelief and the breath caught in his throat. He said, “You too? Oh dear God!” and without any more words, he drew me to him with his good arm and kissed me.
Tiny tentative kisses at first, gentle, the kind one might give a friend at greeting, but they soon changed to passionate and demanding when, despite my good intentions, I responded. This, I thought firmly to myself, is not happening! I didn’t pull away. I wrapped my arms around him instead, and touched him properly for the first time. His hard body tensed under the fine linen shirt.
I’d never known anything remotely like this before, this aching desire that betrayed all my self-control. Living in an overcrowded manor house had taught me powers of discretion no one else had been able to break through, not even Steven, although he had tried. While every sensible bone in my body screamed for me to pull away, to get away, my treacherous arms wouldn’t push, and my legs seemed to be rooted to the spot. With those kisses, he unlocked something I had only been aware of dimly before. Passion.
He bent his head to kiss my neck. Now I could call out, now I could say something, but I only sighed with longing. My throat arched, his kisses burned my skin. I wanted him to continue, but he pushed me away, gasping, “No!”
My astonishment reflected in his eyes as we stood and stared at each other. All my good resolutions had gone dissolved away in the wake of passion. Only aware of him as he looked at me, I tried to think, stay calm, in control of myself, but had to fight for it like never before.
“Someone told me you were dangerous,” I said, quietly. My voice shook despite my best efforts to keep it steady.
“Then you have me at a disadvantage, for no one told me how dangerous you are,” he said in his soft, low voice. I stared at him uncomprehendingly, and a heavy silence fell between us.
I heard the groom outside singing; I heard the horses in their boxes. I thought I had better go. Finally regaining control of my body I turned away, but he said abruptly, “Come and talk. I promise I’ll behave.” And I knew I too felt the need to talk about this, to see if it was real.
I followed him to the back of the coach house where there were a couple of bales of hay, and we sat down side by side, careful not to touch. I felt the shock of his arm around me, the desire in his kiss. I still trembled.
I dared not look at him again. Staring at my trembling hands, I tried to control them, gripping them tightly, watching the knuckles turn white. The dark red scab of the scrape split a little and oozed drops of bright red blood.

Richard and Rose are back!
Order Page:
ISBN: 978-1-59426-296-8 paperback, 978-1-59426-297-5 ebook

Pan Tadeusz

How do you fancy watching a sweeping Regency epic, full of dashing officers, handsome counts and ladies dressed in the height of Empire fashion? Set against a backdrop of castles, country houses and glorious, rolling countryside?

The film of the epic story in verse, Pan Tadeusz (trans: Sir Thaddeus), written by Adam Mickiewicz and first published in 1834, is set among the Polish nobility in 1811-12. It is one of the most widely-read pieces of Polish literature, studied in schools and Mickiewicz is regarded as one of European literature's greatest poets, as we might regard Shakespeare. The 1999 film by noted director Andrej Wadja, is available on DVD with English subtitles.

Ah, sometimes research can be hard work, but watching the film of Pan Tadeusz was a delight and I'd recommend it to any fans of the period. Wadja paints a sweeping canvas, and in fact the film won awards for its cinematography. In 1811, many in the Polish nobility are waiting in hope that Napoleon is on his way to liberate them (Poland was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at this time) on his way to Russia.

In the meantime, this does not prevent them squabbling among themselves, as two families revive an old feud over land. The story combines tragedy and comedy. And there is love on the horizon in the form of a budding romance between the dashing Pan Tadeusz and Zosia, daughter of the other noble family. Will love heal the feud between the families?

Kate Allan

Friday, June 15, 2007

My website

I've just changed my service provider for my website. The address is still but if you have it bookmarked you'll need to change the bookmark because the route for reaching it has changed.

You will know if you're looking at the newly-updated site because it has the Berkley paperback covers on the first page.

Here's a sneak preview of the cover for the paperback of Mr Knightley's Diary which will be out in October.

Amanda Grange

Monday, June 11, 2007

Competition to win The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan

We have a copy of The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan, editrix of Austenblog to give away, so if you want a chance of winning, leave a comment saying what it is that attracts you to the Regency period. Is it the clothes, the houses, the way of life, or something else?
The Jane Austen Handbook is packed with all sorts of interesting information about the period. Have you ever wondered what kind of dance a cotillion is? Or how to make a filigree basket? Or what exactly a footman did? Or the order of precedence at dinner? You'll find the answers to these and more questions, including brief biographies of Jane Austen's family, notes on her novels, a useful glossary and more.

The competition closes on June 21st.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Lord Thurston's Challenge

Here, at long last, is the finished cover for my next book, Lord Thurston's Challenge, out at the end of July 2007. It is to be published by Robert Hale. It will be my fifth for them!
I can hardly believe that in less than two years I have - five hard backs, five large prints, two e-books and two novellas for My Weekly Story Collection, in circulation.
I hope you have all checked out Robert Hale's new website, It's an excellent site and you can buy our books for two thirds of the cover price, and postage is free. There are, I think , more than half of us writing for this wonderful company. Having our books available here will hopefully give a real boost to our sales.
My e-books are with Belgrave, an e-publisher, that specialise in re-printing Regencies. I know that there are several of us from this loop who have books on this site.
Best Wishes
Fenella Miller

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sarah Bryant - guest blogger of the month

We're delighted to welcome Sarah Bryant to the blog. Sarah's latest novel, The Other Eden, is an atmospheric, page turning Gothic novel. Here she talks about how she came to write it.

"Ask me to explain why I wrote my other books, and I’d be able to give logical answers, complete with socio-political commentary and all those things that make writers in interviews sound erudite (or at least like they’re in control of their work!) But ‘The Other Eden’ is different. I suspect that’s because I’ve been writing it since I was eleven years old.

Back then, writing wasn’t a vehicle for a message, or even a particularly conscious effort. It was mostly a way to explain things to myself, also a place to put the things that didn’t seem to belong anywhere else: images that haunted me, music that moved me, dreams that I couldn’t decipher.

And so ‘Eden’ is part all of those things, but its foundation is no doubt Eleanor’s mansion. It’s a real house, improbable as that may sound. Far from a shadowy Louisiana backwater, it’s situated in a rather prosaic suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. The topiary is there, as is the lake – it’s where I learned to swim. As a child, that house and garden fascinated me. I’d met the real owners – a nice, elderly couple, about as mysterious as the local librarian – but I couldn’t help imagining more esoteric inhabitants for their home, ghosts among the weirdly-shaped evergreens, madwomen wandering the weedy paths and surrounding woods.

None of it took shape, however, until the morning I looked up from a canoe floating in the middle of the lake, to be blinded by the sun reflecting off of the windows of a house on the hill on the far shore. It was a dark, late-Victorian glower of a house, all shadows and angles and dark surrounding trees. It quickly grew into an obsession, partly because I had failed to notice it for so many years, primarily because no one seemed to know much about it. So I began writing its story in the back of a school notebook.

I finally finished a coherent draft when I was sixteen. It had the same title, a few of the same characters and themes, but not much else in common with what’s now sitting on the shelf in Waterstone’s. The single publisher I submitted it to had the good sense to reject it. I toyed with re-writes over the next few years, but I didn’t come back to it again in earnest until I was half-way through university, when a flat-mate gave me a recording of Chopin’s G-minor ballade.
I’d heard it – who hasn’t? – but for the first time, I really listened to it. The irresolution of its primary theme reminded me of Eleanor’s search for answers which continually elude her. Once again I found myself thinking about those two brooding mansions of my childhood. I listened to the piece some more, studied the score, read about it. That’s when I learned that Chopin had stories in mind when he wrote the ballades, but that he’d never related or recorded them.

That was ‘Eden’s moment. Each of my books has had one; maybe every writer’s does. It’s a kind of epiphany, when some serendipitous word or image or strain of music or slant of light – it can be anything, really – collides with my mess of ideas, and crystallizes them. In that moment, I know what the book is all about. It’s like I’m looking at the whole of the story as something that already exists – that’s always existed, independently of me – and all that’s left is to write it down.
Did I say ‘all’? The moment is the easy part; the rest is invariably a long haul. With ‘Eden’, it was particularly long. Before Snowbooks made it my second UK publication, I wrote two other books, moved from Boston to Edinburgh, got married and even, briefly, saw ‘Eden’ in print as an e-book (via a major US publisher whose venture into electronic literature flopped spectacularly not long after my book came out).

I don’t know what made me take it up again after that; there just seems to be something about it. ‘Eden’s always in my head, always expanding and evolving. I can’t leave it alone. It can’t leave me alone. Call it mania or nostalgia, as long as it’s there, I’ll be writing about it."

Sarah Bryant, May 2007

Thank you, Sarah, that was fascinating.

The Other Eden is available from bookshops in the UK and online from Amazon by clicking here

Sarah's previous novel, Sand Daughter, is also available.

"This is an epic filled with emotion and rich with atmosphere" - Historical Novel Society

You can find it in UK bookshops or on Amazon by clicking here

To find out more about these and other similar books from Snowbooks, visit the Snowbooks website by clicking here

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Regency period

Publishers usually describe any book set between the years 1793 - 1830 as a Regency, because books set in this time period are in a recognisable style, but the real Regency was much shorter and ran from 1811-1820.

It was made necessary by the illness of George III, who suffered from a strange malady which the doctors of the time attributed to madness, although modern doctors, studying the symptoms, believe it was porphyra. He talked very rapidly for hours and hours, his words making no sense, and often talking to people who weren't there. His behaviour was unpredictable and he had strange fancies, for example, thinking London was being flooded.

He suffered several attacks during his lifetime, and each time he recovered suddenly after a few months of illness. His attack in October 1810 led to the adjournment of Parliament, and, according to Walter Scott, it led to 'a dull publishing season' because the King's illness was worrying everyone. If he didn't recover, there would have to be a Regency, with the Prince of Wales as Regent.

The King didn't recover, and on February 5th 1811 the Regency Bill was passed. The Prince of Wales became the Regent for his father, ruling in his stead. It was an unsettled time politically. The King could recover at any moment and go back to his duties, relegating the Prince of Wales to the sidelines, or he could remain incapacitated for ever, leaving the Prince of Wales as, in effect, the King. In the event, the King never recovered and the Regency lasted until his death in 1820, when a Regency was no longer needed, and the Prince of Wales became King George IV.

That short period of time became synonymous with elegance, beauty and wit and gave its name to one of the best-loved literary genres of the last 200 years.

Friday, June 01, 2007


I'm delighted to announce that Joanne has won the Lord Deverill's Secret competition. A signed copy is on its way to you, Joanne!

Thank you to everyone who entered, your comments were really interesting.Opinion was split almost down the middle with regard to the covers.Slightly more people preferred the paperback (right), but it was very close.
Amanda Grange